Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Celibacy and Priest Sexual Misconduct

When I was becoming Catholic, it seemed to me that celibacy was weird... why would you insist that your leaders remain unmarried? There was just something fishy about it. After all, God commanded us to be fruitful and multiply. The Israelite priests were married. Paul gives the rules of a married clergy in II Timothy and Titus. 
Yeah... those suspicious Catholics, always sneaking in extra rules, they are just like those Pharisees that Jesus called out and railed into them as hypocrites, snakes and white-washed tombs....yeah! Come on! read your Bible Catholics!! I had very little compunctions towards diplomacy at that time in my life. I was, after all, a Biblical scholar and I knew..... 
And look what happened, just what I would suspect... Priests gone sexually rogue.
So, there are a couple of things I want to throw into the discussion. These are not to excuse sexual misbehavior, nor to ignore victims or to exculpate priests who were found guilty of abusing people under their authority. Of course, anyone who deliberately abuses a child need to be prosecuted. Anyone who rapes a child needs to be given a chance to repent, signed with the cross and then stoned. God have mercy on their souls for my belief is they should come before God’s judgment swiftly so they cannot destroy anymore little ones. Or we could just do what Christ suggested and put a millstone around their necks and throw them into the sea. So please do not suggest that I am being soft on crime.
We need to understand what type of person does such crimes and why, so we can stop them by pro-active prevention. So looking at statistics can be helpful.
The first question: Does celibacy have any relational cause to child abuse? (Please refer back to the post before this for statistics.) 
My first reaction was yes! Of course, it is obvious.... these men are sexually repressed and eventually the stress manifests itself by abusing the children they have contact with.
I am not totally rejecting that instinct as completely erroneous, but the more I thought about it, the more it seemed I was making too broad of assumptions. If we begin seeing people who are sexually abstinent as potential sexual time-bombs, we then have to put a lot of people into that category: military, widows and widowers who choose not to remarry, all old maids and bachelors. It doesn’t seem just to place under suspicion all unmarried people. 
We must be very careful how we categorize. 
A high percentage of people who are convicted of child abuse have clinical depression. Are we to be suspicious of all those who admit depression? A number of people who are convicted of child molestation were using illegal drugs? Should those who take drugs be under suspicion as child molesters?
71% of all priests accused of molestation were born between 1930 and 1949..... what conclusions can we draw from this statistic?
But doesn’t it just make sense that a grown man, vowed to perpetual sexual repression would finally crack? Yes, it makes sense.... but how would that crack happen?
What I have heard is that normal men who explode from sexual repression usually pick a consenting grown up, not a child-- the sin results in fornication, not pedophilia. Are there any reports of heterosexual military men bursting with sexual tensions resorting to little boys instead of women (especially when there are women available and willing?) And I know there are many women who have Thornbird fantasies and would be willing to help out a sexually repressed priest.
Sexual temptation rarely takes a normal, healthy attraction to the opposite sex and twists it to an attraction to a child/teenager of the same sex. Yet, look what is happening in the Catholic Church. Priests are sexually abusing boys. 
Look at these stats for sexual victims under 18:
Heterosexual male perpetrator abuse rates (distributed by gender) are 80% females, 20% males. 
This is completely reversed when it comes to the priests’ victims. They are 80% males. That statistic is more in line with homosexual predators. This would suggest that the problem in Catholicism is homosexual priests. So, if we insist that these same priests were married to females, we would run into a different set of problems, because they would still be homosexuals.
The difficulty is that the rate of molestation in priests is less than or equivalent to married men. 
If we could successfully screen out all potential homosexual priests and allow only heterosexual married clergy, the statistics would then reverse and those who were abused would simply switch genders and little girls would be the victims instead of little boys. 
The problem is not celibacy or married clergy. The problems lie with why a person would sexually abuse a child and how can you predetermine who would do these things and then prevent it. This is a formidable task, and to date there has been no satisfactory way to deal with prevention.
If Catholic priests are not abusing at a higher rate than other groups, why the spotlight on the Catholic Church?
There are many suggestions, but all I can say it thank God!! Please, dear Lord, shine the spotlight on our sins so we can see and repent and make amends. Think of all the little children who will not be victims because this was brought into the public eye. So, even though many innocent priests will be implicated by association from this and that is yet another tragedy of the abuse, the Catholic Church will recover and continue just to find another boil coming to the surface to be found and lanced ad infinitum until we are all saints standing before Christ at His Second Coming. Where sin abounds, grace abound even more.
Having said that, I do think there is one explanation about: Why Catholicism--why pick on the Catholic church?
Alleged US victims have received $475,674,835. Lawyers who represented them and the church have made almost $38.5 million. In many instances the lawyers walked away with 62% of the settlement.
What conclusions can we draw from these figures? There have been investigative reports suggesting that lawyers will only take suits against Catholic clergy because Protestant denominations simply do not have the ability to pay out large sums, if any. The Catholic Church is backed by insurance and assets that have the capacity to pay out millions to alleged victims. This sounds cold-hearted, but it is a charge that should at least be considered.
Why would the church require their clergy to be celibate--if there is even the slightest causal relationship, shouldn’t the requirement be dropped?
Yes! If they ever find there is any connection, I would say the church must reconsider celibate priests. The great thing is that at any time the Catholic Church can change the requirements. Priestly celibacy is not a dogma, only a discipline which can be overturned at any time. 
The first Catholic church requirement for a celibate clergy was a local council that only was in force for Spain in AD 306. Attempts were made to spread the practice to the whole church but were unsuccessful. The eastern churches adopted a celibate clergy in the 5th century. There was no uniformity in church law until the First Lateran Council in 1123---Why then? In the hopes of reforming the clergy. That is interesting to note. I could find no information about why celibacy was considered the antidote to the problem, but I can imagine what the problems might be. So, the irony is that the demand of a celibate priesthood came from the reforming priests themselves to combat some type of abuse.
Why make a rule that is not Biblical?
Someone told me that the Catholic pedophile scandal is due to the church disobeying scripture. Well, just like so many Christian doctrines, the scriptures have proof-texts for both sides of this issue. While I agree that scripture does not demand that clergy remain celibate, a priesthood that does choose to remain unmarried have a biblical basis.
Old Testament priests could marry and Paul does command that bishops have only one wife, but certainly marriage is not mandatory because Paul himself was unmarried.
When the disciples were questioning Jesus about marriage (Matthew 16), he laid down some pretty rigorous demands: “Who ever divorces his wife, except for “porenia” (Greek for illicit sexual intercourse) and shall marry another, commits adultery: and he that marries her when she is put away commits adultery.” The disciples threw up their hands and said something like, “well then who would want to get married under those circumstances?” 
Jesus replied, 
For there are eunuchs that were so born from their mother's womb: and there are eunuchs that were made eunuchs by men: and there are eunuchs that made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it. 
Jesus said there would be those who gave up marriage with its sexual intimacy for God’s Kingdom. Not only that but He said those who could do it, should do it--those that are able, let him receive it! Sounds almost like a command. 
Jesus himself chose the path of celibacy and surely those who follow in His footsteps do not deserve our condemnation. Priests feel they are offering up the highest sacrifice they can make for God, that of having their own family, to completely give themselves over to serve the Body of Christ in His church--to be father to the fatherless, father to the child of divorce and those children who simply slip through the cracks of society. That commitment and sacrifice deserves much praise, not scorn.
Look at Paul and his views of celibacy in I Corinthians 7:
It is good for a man not to touch a woman.  But, because of fornications, let each man have his own wife... Yet I would that all men were even as I myself. ...Howbeit each man hath his own gift from God, one after this manner, and another after that. But I say to the unmarried and to widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I... I think therefore that this is good by reason of the distress that is upon us, [namely,] that it is good for a man to be as he is.  Art thou bound unto a wife? Seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? Seek not a wife.  But shouldest thou marry, thou hast not sinned; and if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned. Yet such shall have tribulation in the flesh: and I would spare you. But this I say, brethren, the time is shortened, that henceforth both those that have wives may be as though they had none... But I would have you to be free from cares. He that is unmarried is careful for the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord: but he that is married is careful for the things of the world, how he may please his wife, and is divided. [So] also the woman that is unmarried and the virgin is careful for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married is careful for the things of the world, how she may please her husband. And this I say for your own profit; not that I may cast a snare upon you, but for that which is seemly, and that ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction. ...But he that standeth stedfast in his heart, having no necessity, but hath power as touching in his own heart, to keep his own virgin [daughter], shall do well. So then both he that giveth his own virgin [daughter] in marriage doeth well; and he that giveth her not in marriage shall do better
It is hard for me to accept that Paul really only meant that advice for a short period. Especially because when he wrote this letter (around AD 55 when he was in Ephesus)  the church wasn’t under severe persecution as they would be around AD 64. To Paul, remaining unmarried was a better choice for a Christian than that of being married. 
The Bible does allow for celibacy. It is not a deviant way to live, nor is it unbiblical.  It is almost impossible for us in the decadence of our culture and those of us who are called to marriage and children to understand anyone who would voluntarily choose to be celibate for Christ. But they have been doing it since the time of Jesus. 
Let us now unify in praying for the healing of the victims, the scandal that envelopes our Christian brothers and sisters in the Catholic church and Her priests, and that the perpetrators publicly repent, be prosecuted and that truth will be made manifest.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Sorrows of Priests and Sexual Misconduct

Christians use the priests scandal of sexual misconduct to reinforce their own misunderstandings of Catholicism.

As a new Catholic, I am a convenient target for anti-catholic animus. Because they do not have the facts, just the myths that are repeated generation after generation, people are hardly to blame for hating what they believe Catholics do and teach. It seems the media insidiously, delightfully loves to distort Christianity every chance it gets. And we live in a Protestant country, so it is very understandably difficult to know the truth of Catholicism.

Catholics have a very different worldview of the Bible and to really understand Catholicism takes the long suffering and tenaciousness of learning a new language. I stuck to it for six years... I hardly expect others have the time or desire to do that, so I just have to keep living my faith and hope that someday people will take the time to understand why someone would become Catholic. Anyway.... the point of this post...

These are the terrible facts of the misconduct of Catholic priests. It is important to know them in order for both mercy and justice to be administered in the courts of public opinion. Here they are:

The John Jay Report (google it for reference) did an exhaustive study of accusations of sexual misconduct against priests and deacons and gave the following report in 2004. The research included ALL accusations that were possible for study (some accusers and/or priests were dead--so these were not included in the study) from 1950 to 2002 in the United States. There were 6, 700 accusations that were available for research against 4, 392 priests. The accusations covered sexual misconducts ranging in deviance from showing inappropriate sexual materials such as pictures or stories to a single incident of touching over clothing to the most serious and egregious accusation of rape. This number represents 4% of the 109,694 priests serving in the United States during those years.

The number of alleged incidences dramatically increased during the 1960's peaked in the 1970's and in the last twenty years has almost ceased, returning to their pre-1950's level. Of these allegations, those accusations that seemed to have merit have materialized in 384 priests being prosecuted, 252 have been found guilty and 100 sent to jail. So only 6% of those accused were found guilty, and of those  2% were given prison terms.

Though this is abundantly horrific, having as a Protestant known many people who were sexually molested by their religious leaders, there are several things we can rejoice in.

#1 The accusations were many years ago and the Church has been purged, in large measure, of this demonic activity.

#2 Many of the priests who did this grave evil are now in jail.

#3 The great number of allegations have proven to be based in fiction.

There is more to note. In the study, it was reported that the figure of sexual misconduct for priests was either at the same level or lower than other social and religious groups studied. Sexual misconduct in teachers was found to be a higher percentage than that of Catholic priests. The exact same rate of sexual abuse towards children was found in married men. The rates for sexual abuse in Catholic clergy was the same as in Protestant ministers and Jewish leaders.

The study also brought out several myths that we would like to dispel.

Myth 1: Catholic priests are more likely to be pedophiles than other groups of men. 

In fact, pedophilia--the sexual abuse of those under the age of 14 is extremely rare affecting only 0.3 of priests. Actually the vast majority of accusations came from victims came during the time they were teenagers.

Myth #2 Priestly celibacy is part of the context that leads to sexual abuse of minors.

There is no statistical relationship between celibacy and sexual misconduct.  A percentage of the Catholic clergy that were in the study group were married deacons. Married men who commit these grave acts are statistically the same as celibate priests. The profiles of abusers never, ever have included normal sexual adults who turn into abusers because of environment or sexual repression.  There has never been a documented case of a healthy heterosexual man that developed an erotic attraction to children. They always, without exception, have deviant sexual tendencies from childhood. Therefore it is a misnomer to conclude that a married clergy would reduce sexual misconduct.

Myth #3 Homosexuality is not connected to sexual deviancy.

Homosexuals are three times as likely to be sexually attracted to children and teenagers than heterosexual men.

Reports concluded that a sexual perpetrator is much more likely to be found in one's home, at a childcare center or at school than by a Catholic priest. In a recent national study by NSHS, when victims of sexual misconduct was investigated, there were no--zero- cases involving priests. Categories of perpetrators were: teachers, neighbors, doctors, grandparents, friends, co-workers, gardeners, repairmen or non-family residents of the home, not one priest was accused.

These statistics are culled from the following:

The John Jay Report
Crisis Magazine
Jenkins, Pedophiles and Priests
Psychology Today
National Opinion Research Center
The Hartford Currant
Addiction and Compulsive Behaviors [Boston; 1998] Fred Berlin, Patrick J. Carnes and Dale O'leary

Friday, March 12, 2010

The Romance of Catholic Worship

        Laura’s favorite position to worship Jesus Christ, her dearest Lord and Savior, was to snuggle up on the couch at five a.m. when her children were asleep, cover herself with her favorite fuzzy blanket, sip steaming hot coffee then read and pray. She said it felt romantic and cozy, just Jesus and her. It was her favorite time of day.

Church was a lot of trouble--getting her kids dressed and listening to her husband’s deep, resistant breaths that complained about another day where the morning hours were scheduled. But, once at church, she enjoyed the lively praise music and theater seating. Children’s church gave her a break, so she and her husband could worship together. Church was a great place for Christian socializing, but lately, the real time for worship, real worship was alone reading scripture and talking to the Lord as she watched the dawn from her couch. There, the feelings of Jesus near, were the ultimate. 

After all, Jesus went away from the crowds for refreshing to be alone with His Father. Jesus also said that we should go into the closet and pray. Isn’t that really what was important? A special, intimate relationship with Christ, where He talks to you and you can hear His voice? As a Protestant, it doesn’t get any better than that.

Then there was James, who wanted to get back to what he thought the book of Acts described as the ancient church worship. He began a home fellowship, where neighbors could come in casual clothes, bring something to munch on and they would all sit on the couch while singing a couple songs, reading psalms and people giving their testimony. There was no real structure, just Christians fellowshipping and sharing their love of Jesus.

For many Protestants, worship means a daily comfortable, relaxing little mini-vacation from life as you read a chapter or two from scripture, lift up your voice in praise and thanksgiving to the Lord and then kneel in prayer with your list of requests. Most Protestants feel intimately connected to Christ by these times of worship and see anything liturgical, full of rites and preset prayers, any formality at all, as inauthentic worship. 

American Protestantism doesn’t get the necessity for an organized church. What’s the point? It just adds unnecessary conflicts over how you worship: the music, the building, the people, the theology. Keep it simple. That is godliness. “I can figure out the Bible by myself, thank you very much.”

Because some Protestant worship takes on the chicken-soup-for-the-soul attributes, they have a difficult time understanding Catholic worship. Indeed, some fundamentalists believe what they see in Catholic mass is idolatry. Yet, to understand a Catholic, you must take a journey with me, into the mystery of a romance with our Savior.

The Introduction and Flirtation
“How do I love thee, let me count the ways....”

I love thee, my Jesus by learning thy Holy Word daily and hiding it in my heart. 
[And yet, reading--studying--well, I study for school and read to become educated in many areas. So studying isn’t worship, nor is it unique to worship. Is there anything more I have reserved for just You, dearest Lord, just You?]
I love thee, my Jesus by praising and giving thee thanks. 
[And yet--I praise my children and thank my dear spouse. So praising and thanksgiving aren’t worship, nor are they unique to worship. Is there anything more I have reserved for just You, dearest Lord, just You?]
I love thee, my Jesus by lifting up my most intimate pleas and petitions in prayer. 
[And yet, I ask my husband often for help, and petition politicians and even once “prayed for judgment” in court. So even praying--beseeching--isn’t worship, nor is it unique to worship. Is there anything I have reserved for just You, dearest Lord, just You?]
Perhaps I am left only with the tender earnestness of my worship, the sensation of ethereal holiness as I study, petition, praise and give you thanksgiving. Is it the feelings that makes what I do change from mundane to spiritual? Is it worship when it is profound and intense, but not when I offer praise to my teachers, my husband, my children?
Aha! as I remember your commandment, I believe I know why it is worship, those things that I do in my quiet times. 
You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to worship them or serve them... Exodus 20:3-5
It is my kneeling and bowing before you that makes it go from everyday praising and petitioning into real worship! And yet, wait.... the Bible records many instances where people bow to each other.

 So I am left with nothing unique to my worship--nothing I can offer to God except to make the secular sacred by giving it to Him.

Love, Devotion and Marriage

You call the church Your bride. How am I married to You? I read in scripture that to You adultery and idolatry are related, God? This is confusing. I have no idols, I think.... Is this the key to another, perhaps higher form of worship--exclusive to you and not found in any other form? 

What is adultery in worshipping God? Is it the earnestness, the form, the praise and prayer? What is this idolatry/adultery worship?

Is hand-holding adultery? Hugging? There is nothing in scripture that says these things would be committing adultery. What about a step forward in intimacy, what about kissing? Well, you can kiss your children and even close friends, that is not cheating on your spouse. Even though I kiss my husband and my children, they are very dissimilar. One has an element of sensual love and the other, well vastly different. Could I explain the difference to one who had never kissed? 

Then there is the consummation of a marriage, the most exquisite of intimacies with your spouse. Outside of marriage it is a very deep and serious sin--it is called adultery. This is what God has warned us is equivalent to idolatry. So what, dearest Lord, is this in our worship? How does one commit adultery in worship? Does one have to have an idol we clothe, feed, and pray to, to commit idolatry? Is that not what Catholics do by bowing and praying to Mary in worship? 

What is Adultery in Worship?
Well, to a Catholic, there are common forms of intimacy, like prayer, petition, praise and study. These do not constitute the fullness of worship. They are likened to handshakes, kisses and hugs. They are the beginning of intimacy but can be done to others who are family and friends. Mary and the saints in heaven are supposed to be our family, so to kneel in petition to them is no different from those who kneeled in the Bible to petition their family or Israel’s kings. It is not an intimate worship. It rather is relationship-oriented and a form of devotion or respect  when done to kings and queens. 

But, for Christ there is another level the Catholics have that is to them the ultimate form of worship this side of heaven. It is reserved only for the Godhead. It is called the Eucharist. 

Each week, the whole church, the Bride, is commanded by her Lord and King, to meet her in the exclusive and most intimate of communion. It is the mystery of Christ with us, Christ in us and we in Christ. We share the cup of His blood poured out for us, we eat the manna from Heaven, the bread broken for us which is His body. We are united in Him and that is the highest form of worship known to humans. It is an encounter with the Divine that He will share with nothing or no one. It alone is set aside, sanctified and made holy in a way that no study, prayer or praise can do alone. 

While Catholics come together at mass and begin the dance of love with their creator in singing Psalms, reading His holy word in scripture and lifting up praise and petitions, our worship has only begun. It is when we kneel and watch the bread being blessed by the anointed and consecrated priests, we are entering a form of miraculous worship, that eternal and timeless making present the God’s Holy sacrifice of the cross. This is the perfect, highest and ultimate adoration found in the passion of Christ. He shares His passion for His bride and we respond with faith and submission. It is the sweetest intimacy from which flows His eternal life into ours that we may become a life-giving force for the world.  The parallel to the consummation of marriage is profound and mysterious.

His body is broken and poured out in love for us and as we partake in Him, we become more fully His body. Therefore, having received His grace, we go and break ourselves to restore the broken of the world to Him. That is the crowning form of worship which we do not share with any secular or casual form. It is for God alone.
Because the Protestant church services do not include the transubstantiation of the Bread and Wine, they do not have the same form of this worship. Their communion service is symbolic and therefore does not have the same intense complexity as the Catholic.
So while, in a sense, the Protestant forms of worship never goes beyond the kissing and hugging stage. They have not experienced the rite of consummation, so they have no higher forms of worship than studying, prayers of petitions and praise. They feel like they are engaged in idolatry when they use these forms, especially kneeling in petitions to God. But in the Catholic mind, these forms are not necessarily worship, but are part of the beginning stages of intimacy that are worship only when they are done before God. Do not misunderstand, these forms can and do constitute worship or Satan would never have told Christ to bow at his feet and worship him. The wise men would not have journeyed across the Arabian peninsula if they could not have worshipped at the feet of the babe who was to be King. This indeed is worship, but not always.

Just as it is not worship when Lot fell down prostrate in front of the two strangers who turned out to be angels visiting Sodom, so bowing does not necessarily mean worship. Just as kissing your child and kissing your husband are very different acts of love. This is the same understanding Catholics have for praying to saints. Praying isn’t necessarily worship. Studying isn’t necessarily worship, kneeling isn’t necessarily worship and praise isn’t necessarily worship. It is only when these things are within the ritual of intimacy with Christ, they are worship and when they lead us to the Eucharist, we have found the most precious form and sacrament of worship that is exclusively towards God and God alone. 

Just as Israel as a group, would be called to Jerusalem to offer sacrifices and celebrate special holy commencements, so Catholic believe that you cannot separate the highest forms of worship from the whole of the community. We can worship Christ individually, but there is a power, a glory, a holiness that is found when the Body of Christ is joined in adoration of the King, from the saints and angels in heaven singing “Alleluia” to the Christian pilgrims on earth to those in purgatory, we are all one church and part of the one body of Christ. It is when our hearts and souls and spirits combine to one resounding Body--His Church becomes His Body through the Eucharist, that all glory and honor, all devotion and reverence, blessings and praises, thanksgiving and love reach their powerful zenith in worship. 

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Parable of the Bible

Mary rolled over in bed, she didn’t want her husband Roi to see the tears spilling over her face now making a wet spot on her pillow. This was just too much for her. This was the morning she had dreaded for the last three years. Mary had known it was coming, but she just hadn’t really believed it. Roi had been giving her very specific instructions about why he was going and what to do while he was gone, but the last three years she had been praying it wouldn’t actually lead to this..... yet, just as he said, this hour did come. 
She saw the newly polished metals he had received and shoulder board with the five stars against the blue background sitting on their dresser awaiting the moment he would get up and get dressed. Her husband was the General of the US Air Force and she was incredibly proud of him, but she knew this would be a mission that would take him far away and for many, many months without hearing from him. He promised this was his last mission, and he would come back for her and never, ever leave her again.
With his last kiss, he held her and whispered into her ears some of the things he had taught her, reminding her that she would never really be alone, his spirit would be with her, loving her, guiding her. He told her above all else, to keep the family together. 
He had sat the children down the night before and told them that mom was his appointed authority--obey her--just like they would obey him or else when he got back, they would get it.
As the door, the five-star general said a prayer for his family. Then his wife, in her robe, waved good-bye to him from the front door as he disappear into the early morning fog. 
At first, the kids acted like kids and tested their mother to see if she really was now in charge. They had been used to taking orders from dad--he had been the disciplinarian. Now the boundaries had to be tested, but mom proved to be strong and what she said went, period--no arguments.
As the months went by, her two oldest children, twins Charles and Martin, went off to a high school boarding academy for their first semester. Mom wrote down their father’s instructions and placed them in a little book. Even though she had already told them while they were home, she wanted something to remind them.
One afternoon, one of the twins called home and complained about a fight he was having with his brother. 
“Mom, I know the instructions dad sent us said we were supposed to eat healthfully. But tonight is Halloween and I got some candy to hand out and Martin scolded me, grabbed the candy and threw it outside. Come on! He had no right to do that. I don’t think dad meant that we couldn’t eat any candy at all!” Twin Charles said. 
Twin Martin grabbed the phone and yelled, “MOM! He didn’t read instruction number 83. It says we are supposed to eat healthfully. He shouldn’t be giving kids this crap. It is bad for them and I know he’s going to eat whatever is left over. He need to listen to dad and I am not going to allow Charles to just disobey dad.”
The fighting escalated till mother called for some order. 
“Okay, okay.... I don’t think your father meant that no candy could ever be eaten. Your dad ate candy occasionally. He loved chocolate-covered peanuts, so I know he didn’t mean that to be so strict. He just meant that you should try and eat healthfully, “ mom explained.
“BUT THAT’S NOT WHAT HE WROTE!!! I NEVER EVER SAW DAD EAT CANDY! I think your making that up mom.” Martin returned with fire.
The argument recommenced. Finally, mother broke in and reminded them about rule number three and four. Rule number three is that the family be united and be nice to each other and rule number four was to obey your mother as if she was the General himself.
“But YOU can’t come in and change the rules, mom,”  Martin protested.
“No, honey I am not changing them. You just misunderstood what dad meant by rule 83,” mom was trying to be kind.
I can read what he wrote, mom! It is plain as day.”
“Honey, dad didn’t write that. I DID, to remind you of some of the things he thought were important for us to do while he was gone. He spoke them to me, as your authority, and I wrote it down in my own words. I aught to know best what he meant. I knew him longer, I am his wife, remember.”
The scenario stops here, for as you can guess, this is not a story but a parable. It is the parable of how the Catholics see scripture. This is very different from how Protestants see it. Protestants view scripture as a set of writings God wrote down and handed to his kids when he left. Each kid is then required to obey them independently of one another. 
But the Catholic church sees scripture as part of what Christ whispered in His Bride’s ear and instructed of her while He was with her. She wrote down some,  but not all of what her husband said [2 Thess. 2: 15]. She is the authority and the Bible backs up what she says. She does not instruct against the writings she herself wrote in accordance to her husband’s words. 
When there is a conflict in how some people read scripture and what they see in Catholic teachings, it is not really a conflict, but a matter of how scripture is interpreted.
For Catholics and Protestants to ever communicate, the Catholic and Protestant perception of how we received truth from God and who He ultimate put in charge is fundamental. 
Protestants see scripture as having the ultimate authority. II Tim. 3:16
Catholics see the church as having the ultimate authority. I Tim. 3:15
[Note: Paul writes Timothy giving authority to both scripture AND the church. So the question is which is preeminent when two people have different interpretations of scripture, the person’s opinion or the church’s opinion?]
When we speak to each other, Protestants constantly appeal to scripture and tell Catholics to “prove” what they believe by scripture. Catholics see that as odd, why should they have to when they see themselves as being the ones who wrote it and copied it, translated it, protected it? It is their writings. 
Catholics find it a little presumptuous to use the Bible against the group that it was given to. They believe God whispered truth into the Catholic Church’s ear and when He left, He put her as His bride in charge. (By the way, that is exactly what scripture reveals also. Scriptures do not point to themselves as the final authority, but the church and its leaders.) 
The church Christ left in charge recorded a part of the instructions to her, not all of His instructions, so it confuses a Catholic when you insist everything--all truths--MUST be found in scripture. Protestants accept the Trinity which is not clearly in scripture. Protestant’s accept that marriage is between one man and one woman--which can be confusing in scripture when the Old Testament has many of God’s chosen men having several to many wives.

 [Remember Paul (II Tim. & Titus) insists only church leaders have one wife, the assumption being that the lay people can do otherwise. It is Catholic tradition and authority that made the pronouncement that only one wife for each Christian man. c. 7th century.] 
Going to church on Sunday is a tradition the Catholics started--they claim by Apostolic authority--yet that is not found clearly in scripture. 
So much of what God told the early church is not written in scripture but was told orally to the apostles and was spread orally through those ordained by the Apostles. [II Thess. 2: 15; 3:6] Paul, and the other writers of the New Testament were under no orders to write from God, nor did they believe what they wrote was meant to be taken exhaustively (See John 16:12). The disciples were ordered by God to spread the gospel via spoken word--preaching and teaching.
So with this in mind, Catholics and Protestants need a new dialogue. Protestants need to have the Catholic prove these premises:
Prove the Scriptures are NOT the ultimate authority.
Prove Catholics are the authority.
For the Catholics, the Protestant premises need to be proven:
Prove the Scriptures ARE the ultimate authority (Sola Scriptura).
Prove that the Catholic church is not God’s authority.
Until we start dialoging from an understanding of each other’s perspective, we will never understand each other. The underlying problem is trust. Who can you trust to give you truth? Catholics trust the Word of God as given to the church (both oral and written), Protestants trust the Word of God found exclusively in the Bible (written). Catholics see no discrepancies between having both the Bible as infallible nor the dogmas of the church. They see a perfect unity in the two, like to legs working in unison to walk. Protestants see Catholicism as ignoring the Bible. That is why a real understanding of these two ways of looking at scripture is a must before we start any dialogue.

Parable: Mary is Icon of Church, Roi is El-Roi Old Testament name for God, Charles is Holy Roman Emperor King Charles V and Martin in Martin Luther.